Social-Ecological Regime Shift in the South China Sea: Examining Governance Approaches in Zhuhai, Guangdong
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The objective of this research is to examine governance approaches implemented in Zhuhai, Guangdong, for dealing with social-ecological regime shifts (SERS). Here, SERS refers to abrupt, long-term, and significant changes in linked systems of people and nature with uncertain implications for ecosystem services and human well-being. Such large-scale changes have allowed substantial disturbances to occur in Zhuhai, and they remain ongoing phenomena despite decades of governance interventions. To address this purpose of this research, I followed three objectives: (1) to identify the nature of ongoing SERS in Coastal Zhuhai, Guangdong, China; (2) to examine and assess key policies and regulations in relation to those SERS; and (3) to examine possible governance interventions that have the potential to better respond to future SERS. This research contributes a better understanding of SERS in the local context, and provides a glimpse of how to more effectively transform scientific findings into practical applications. My research starts by identify impacts on ecosystem services posed by ongoing SERS in the region. Then, I conduct a thorough analysis that identifies drivers of change that contribute to SERS. More importantly, by collecting data in the field, my case study facilitates an examination of governance approaches implemented for addressing changes under the local context. I used a combination of semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory observations. The research confirmed that that anthropogenic factors, such as rapid population growth, primarily contributed to the changes in Zhuhai. While there are actions taking place in China to deal with the issues, my analysis indicates that more efforts are necessary on public awareness, governance norms, and equity to support ongoing governance policy regulations in place in China. In conclusion, this thesis provides several recommendations regarding effective governance interventions to enhance the capacity of the system to deal with the ongoing SERS and their impacts and to prevent further disturbances.
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Lichu Lin (2020). Social-Ecological Regime Shift in the South China Sea: Examining Governance Approaches in Zhuhai, Guangdong. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15421